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Jax Daily Record Thursday, May 16, 201902:40 PM EST

Plan to simplify Downtown design standards approved by Jacksonville City Council

The three-bill package was introduced by Council member Lori Boyer, who was selected as the next DIA CEO.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

A plan to simplify zoning and redraft the Downtown overlay was approved unanimously Wednesday by the Jacksonville City Council.

The three-bill package was introduced March 26 by District 5 Council member Lori Boyer. On Wednesday, Boyer was selected as the next Downtown Investment Authority CEO.

Ordinance 2019-296 reduces the number of Downtown zoning districts from 10 to eight, aiming to simplify design standards for developers. It adds clarity to commercial and residential rooftop use, first floor residential guidelines and better-defined building height limits by district.

The bill also addresses setback requirements for riverfront development, mandating 25 feet for the Riverwalk and an additional 25 feet for amenities like outdoor patios, seating and pools before any raised structures can be built.

City officials say they hope the new design standards will activate the riverfront, making the Riverwalk more pedestrian-friendly and visible throughout Downtown.

Ordinance 2019-0197 would consolidate nearly 980 acres of the Northbank and Southbank from 14 zoning categories into one commercial central business district category.

Bill 2019-195 eliminates minimum parking requirements in the city’s 2030 comprehensive plan.

Boyer has been working since early April to sell the plan to Downtown stakeholders.

The JAX Chamber endorsed the legislation Monday and Boyer also received approval from the DIA, the Downtown Development Review Board and other agencies before taking it to the City Council Land Use and Zoning Committee, where it had no opposition.

Boyer said she hopes to see results of the changes soon.

“I really think it is a major step forward to update our Downtown zoning overlay,” Boyer said. “I hope we’re going to see the impact of that going forward.”

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